RAF Tornado and microlight in near miss after map mishap

RAF Tornado GR4 jets. Photo: David Jones/PA Wire

RAF Tornado GR4 jets. Photo: David Jones/PA Wire - Credit: PA

A military jet and a microlight were involved in a near miss due to an airfield being wrongly placed on a map.

The pilot of the Tornado, which was based at RAF Marham, did not spot the other aircraft as he flew over Headon Airfield in Nottinghamshire, coming within around 300ft of it.

An AirProx Board report, which analyses the cause of air space incidents in the UK, said the 'incident demonstrates not only how difficult it is to spot a small microlight-sized aircraft when flying at low-level, but also how important it is to remain vigilant during all phases of flight'.

The report categorised the near miss as having a high degree of risk. One of the main reasons for the incident was that Headon had been incorrectly marked on the military map.

It added: 'Essentially, the Tornado pilot was threading the gap very finely between these airfields and, although his planned routing would have taken him clear of Headon airfield had it been marked on the charts correctly, he had left very little margin for error and would have been wiser to have allow himself much more room to manoeuvre.'

According to the report, military charts are due to be updated to correctly position the airfield.

It was also noted that the Tornado had a TCAS (traffic collision avoidance system) equipped, however the microlight did not show up as it did not have the necessary transponder.

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The Tornado was at around 300ft above ground with the microlight above it.

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